In recognition of the HFX Wanderers first ever home game in franchise history, let’s look back at the Nova Scotia Clippers first game. This is an article that appeared in the Halifax Daily News on May 25, 1991.
Dartmouth welcoming Clippers’ arrival
By CRAIG MEISTER
Count Dartmouth mayor John Savage among the fans who will be attending the Nova Scotia Clippers’ home opener tomorrow at Beazley Field.
Savage, a season ticket holder and perhaps the biggest soccer fan among local politicians, will get the 3 p.m. Canadian Soccer League contest against the Vancouver 86ers under way by kicking off the game ball.
“Soccer is certainly the game of the ’90s, and a pro team is icing on the cake,” said Savage, an Irish-Welshman who grew up playing soccer and rugby. “We wish them well in their first year and hope the crowds turn out.”
The one-time centre half, now the property of city hall, confessed his favorite team as a youngster was Manchester United. That just happens to be one of the teams that Clippers’ coach/GM Gordon Hill starred for.
Savage was surprised when told that the field conditions at Beazley had been less than ideal as late as last Sunday.
In all, the city has spent about $50,000 on improvements, he said. Stands able to accommodate up to 2,500 fans were erected this week at Beazley Field and the field conditions were upgraded in preparation for the opener, he said.
Savage said the city had nothing special planned, per se, for tomorrow’s game, but that the team itself was planning something.
Dartmouth, whose senior men’s and women’s teams both captured silver medals at last year’s national club championships, has a few thousand players spread over 13 fields and a strong amateur system, he noted.
“We’re not promoting soccer just because we have a pro team now, but also because the city is a healthy community in local soccer.
“We have responded to the push in Dartmouth for more pitches, as much as possible, to meet demand,” he said. “But there never seems to be enough.”
ANCHORS AWAY — Defender Pat Sullivan of Pickering, Ont., has arrived in Halifax, though he likely won’t see action in the Vancouver game. The Clippers chose the 19-year-old in January’s CSL entry draft …The Clippers’ final practice is slated for today at 10 a.m. at Beazley Field …The ticket count for tomorrow’s opener continues to escalate. As of yesterday afternoon, the organization estimated between 1,200 and 1,500 had been sold… The Clippers passed the 300 milestone yesterday for season tickets. The count now stands at 301 …Attractive, informative programs for the Vancouver game will be available for $1 at the game.
For the record, this game ended in a 0-0 draw in front of 1891 fans. By comparison, yesterday’s Wanderers’ match drew 6113 fans with the home team winning 2-1. This just goes to show how much has changed in Canadian soccer in the past 28 years. In a strange twist of fate, John Savage’s son, Mike, is now the mayor of the HRM and was on hand for the game yesterday.